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Billy Hamilton Tears It Up
Phillies’ home attendance jumped to 352, 773, nearly double the League average, as the fans could not seem to get enough of Billy Hamilton and the Phillies flying baseball circus. In the 127 year history of the Phillies, the 1,179 runs scored by the 1894 mashers is the most by any team, and it was accomplished in a 132 game schedule, an average of 8.9 runs per game. The team won 46 and lost 8 in games where they scored 10 or more runs. Three times they topped 20 runs in a game including the 29-4 rout of the Louisville Colonels on August 17. An asterisk should be placed beside that game because it was played at the undersized athletic field of the University of Pennsylvania where the Phillies completed their home schedule after a fire on August 6th destroyed the Huntingdon Grounds grandstand. Three days earlier the Colonels, who finished last, 54 games behind the pennant winning Baltimore Orioles, and who scored but 698 runs in the entire season, beat the Phillies 13-7 on the strength of six homeruns at the small U. Penn field.
The offensive numbers for the 1894 Phillies defy belief; Sam Thompson, Ed Delahanty, and Billy Hamilton, all hit over .400, as did spare outfielder Tuck Turner who hit .418 and scored 95 runs in 82 games. In 702 plate appearances, Hamilton was on base 365 times (.521 OBP), stole 100 bases, and scored an unlikely-to-ever be-topped 195 runs. Six players scored 100 or more runs.
It was a great show for the hometown cranks – 48-20 at home, but another dismal road show (23-37) did the Phillies in, and they once again finished fourth, this time 18 games back.
Harry Wright took his tired eyes into retirement, handing the managing job to old friend Arthur “Doc” Irwin who was left to glory over his hitters, but suffer with his pitchers. Especially against Baltimore; on June 22nd and 23rd the Orioles beat the Phillies 18-14 and 18-11. On August 3rd and 4th the Baltimore bullies bombed the Phillies 16-3 and 19-12. It took courage to be a major league pitcher in 1894.
A final word about Harry Wright. In 10 years from 1884 to 1893, his teams won 636 and lost 566, a .529 winning percentage. The 636 wins stood as a team record for 75 years until topped by Gene Mauch(637) in 1968. Under Wright, the Phillies never won a pennant, but they were competitive and entertaining while learning to play the game the right (Wright?) way. Harry Wright died of a lung ailment in 1895; he was elected to the baseball Hall-of-Fame in 1953..By max blue